Samrudha Salvi ‧ Co-Founder & Nutritionist (Stanford)
Samrudha is a certified nutritionist and also a Co-founder for Welcyon.com. He has also featured in many publications including CNBC, Entrepreneur amongst others. He brings more than 10 years of experience with him.
Losing weight is hard. Keeping the weight off is even harder. In fact, according to a study published in the journal Obesity, 95 percent of people who lose weight will eventually gain it all back. This is because when you diet, you not only lose fat but also lose muscle mass. And when you regain weight, it’s mainly in the form of fat.
That's why it's so important to develop healthy habits that will help you maintain your weight loss for the long haul. Here are eight tips that will help you keep the weight off after dieting:
1. Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are loaded with sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats that can lead to weight gain. They are also low in fiber and nutrients, which can make you feel hungry sooner. Instead of processed foods, focus on eating whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. To aid your fat-burning journey you can learn how to make smoothies! These are a great and tasty way to stay in shape.
For example, instead of eating processed food like a frozen pizza, make your own pizza with whole-wheat dough, fresh tomatoes, and low-fat mozzarella cheese.
Additionally, make sure to read food labels carefully. Many processed foods masquerade as healthy options but are actually loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. For example, a “healthy” granola bar may be high in sugar and calories, or a “low-fat” salad dressing may be full of unhealthy fats.
2. Eat more protein
Protein helps you feel fuller for longer and can help preserve your muscle mass when you're trying to lose weight. Aim to eat at least 20 grams of protein at each meal, and include a source of protein in snacks as well. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, and dairy.
You can also get your protein from plant-based sources, such as quinoa, tofu, and tempeh. Just make sure to choose options that are also high in other nutrients, such as fiber and healthy fats.
For example, you can add quinoa to a salad or use tofu in stir-fries. In addition, you can also use protein powder in smoothies or make homemade energy bars with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
A pro tip: To make sure you're getting enough protein, try using a food tracker app. This will help you hit your daily protein goals and ensure that you're getting all the other nutrients you need as well.
3. Avoid sugary drinks
Sugary drinks are a major contributor to weight gain. In fact, one study found that people who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day had a 26 percent greater risk of becoming overweight or obese than those who didn’t drink any sugary drinks.
Instead of sugary drinks, opt for water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. You can also make your own fruit-infused water by adding fresh berries, slices of citrus fruits, or herbs to your water.
For example, you can add mint leaves to your water for a refreshing twist.
4. Eat more fiber
Fiber helps keep you feeling full and can help prevent overeating. Aim to eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day, which you can get from foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
For example, you can add black beans to your salad or eat an apple with peanut butter for a snack. Plus, fiber-rich foods tend to be nutrient-dense, so you'll get other important nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, make sure to drink plenty of water when you're increasing your fiber intake. This will help prevent constipation and other side effects of eating too much fiber. For example, if you're eating a high-fiber breakfast like oatmeal, make sure to chase it with a glass of water.
A pro tip: If you're having trouble getting enough fiber, try using a supplement. Just make sure to talk to your doctor first to see if it's right for you.
5. Avoid eating late at night
Eating late at night can cause weight gain because it often leads to overeating. Plus, when you eat late at night, your body has less time to burn off the calories before you go to bed.
To avoid weight gain, try to eat your last meal of the day at least two hours before you go to bed. If you're hungry after dinner, opt for a healthy snack like fruits or vegetables.
Additionally, make sure to avoid eating in front of the TV or computer. This can lead to mindless snacking and overeating.
A pro tip: If you tend to eat late at night, try setting a kitchen curfew. This means that you won't allow yourself to eat anything after a certain time, such as 9 pm.
6. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial for weight loss and weight maintenance. When you're well-rested, you're less likely to eat out of boredom or stress. Plus, sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain by affecting hormones that regulate hunger and fullness.
To make sure you're getting enough sleep, aim for 7-9 hours per night. Additionally, create a bedtime routine that includes winding down for 30 minutes before you turn off the lights. This can help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
In addition, try to avoid working or using electronic devices in bed. This can stimulate your brain and make it harder to fall asleep. Try to have your room be for sleep and relaxation only. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet to create the ideal environment for sleep. Our bodies are meant to wake up with the sun, so avoid bright lights in the evening by dimming the lights or wearing an eye mask.
A pro tip: If you have trouble sleeping, try cutting back on caffeine and screens before bed. Additionally, try to create a calm and dark environment in your bedroom to promote better sleep.
7. Manage stress
Chronic stress can lead to weight gain by affecting hormones that regulate hunger and fullness. Additionally, when you're stressed, you're more likely to turn to food for comfort.
To manage stress, try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. You can also journal or talk to a friend or therapist about what's going on in your life.
For example, try writing down three things you're grateful for each day. This can help shift your focus from negative to positive thoughts. Also, make sure to schedule time for fun and relaxation every day. This can help reduce stress and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Another way to manage stress is to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself. This includes eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. By taking care of your body, you'll be better able to handle stress when it comes up.
A pro tip: If you find yourself reaching for unhealthy foods when you're stressed, try keeping healthy snacks nearby. For example, keep a stash of nuts or seeds in your desk drawer or carry a small container of trail mix with you.
8. Avoiding crash diets
Crash diets are not sustainable in the long term and can actually lead to weight gain. This is because they're often very restrictive, which can lead to cravings and overeating. Additionally, crash diets can cause nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, and other health problems.
A crash diet is any diet that involves severe calorie restriction, such as a liquid diet or a very low-calorie diet. Additionally, any diet that eliminates entire food groups or requires you to eat only certain foods is also considered a crash diet.
If you want to lose weight, it's important to do it in a healthy way. Aim for slow and steady weight loss by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle. For example, try cutting out sugary drinks or eating an extra serving of vegetables each day.
Another example is to exercise three times per week for 30 minutes. This can help you burn calories and improve your overall health. You can do this by walking, jogging, or cycling. For example, try going for a 30-minute walk in your neighborhood or taking a spin class at the gym. In addition, try to find an activity that you enjoy so that you're more likely to stick with it.
A pro tip: If you want to lose weight, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you create a healthy weight loss plan that's right for you.
Losing weight can be a difficult process, but it's important to do it in a healthy way. Avoiding crash diets and making small changes to your diet and lifestyle are two of the best ways to lose weight safely and effectively. If you're struggling to lose weight, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for help. They can create a customized plan that's right for you. Also, make sure to get enough sleep, manage stress, and stay hydrated. These healthy habits can help you reach your weight loss goals. The bottom line is that crash diets are not sustainable and can actually lead to weight gain. So, focus on making small changes to your diet and lifestyle for long-term success.